Thursday, June 30, 2011

Presidents House Quilts Exhibit


My dear amiga Michelle Flamer has done a wonderful job of curating an amazing exhibit. The Constitution Center, with the Independence Visitor Center and the African American Museum of Philadelphia, will mount the joint exhibition, "The President's: Their Untold Stories in Quilts" - more than 40 quilts inspired by stories of the nine enslaved Africans held by Washington at the President's House in Philadelphia.
The President’s House: Their Untold Stories in Quilts
Curator: Michelle D. Flamer, Esquire
The truth is stark and the irony undeniable: the first President of the United States, who established a new democracy built upon principles of freedom and equality, was himself a slaveholder.  George and Martha Washington kept nine people enslaved as their domestic servants in Philadelphia’s First Executive Mansion. 

Like the West African “griot” or storyteller, this collection of art quilts relates the history of the President’s House and its nine enslaved inhabitants. The artists represented in this exhibit are a geographically diverse, multiracial and multicultural group of both internationally acclaimed and novice art quilters. With only fabric and thread, we celebrate the humanity, dignity and courage of slaves in the President’s House. These art quilts are intended to provoke a uniquely American dialogue about slavery and freedom in the paradigm of democracy.

"Divine Nine"
(c) Sabrina Zarco, 2011
On exhibit in the African American Museum of Philadelphia 
The President's: Their Untold Stories in Quilts

This work honors the divine human spirits held as slaves by those in leadership promoting freedom. The juxtaposition of these concepts is at its core incomprehensible. President Washington’s “ownership” over slaves dictated where and how they would live, what they could wear, separated families and even removed slave’s teeth to replace his own. Slavery in this country continues in various forms. Let this work remind us that none of us are free until we are all free.

The "slave shirt" is made of burlap often what was used to "cut down costs". Names of the Divine Nine are listed above, background fabric is the US Declaration of Independence. There is bead work and hand and machine quilting. I  will post detail and more clear photo later. If you are in or near the Philly area stop by and enjoy the exhibit.

Gracias Michelle for all you have done to make this powerful truth telling exhibit a reality!

1 comment:

  1. Well done, well said Sabrina.

    "An unjust law is no law at all." ~ Augustine of Hippo